More Crying About Cut And Paste Blogging

You can add Piers Fawkes to the list of bloggers who believe their precious content ought not to be lifted, except in small parts.

Thanks again for referencing our site with the Hit Parking piece. I do enjoy the spread of ideas featured on PSFK, but I do find that the complete cut and paste of one of our articles to be very lazy. Could you not have posted an extract or rewritten the item in your own voice?
Not only does it go against copyright but also think of the writer in India who spent time researching and writing that piece to put on PSFK.
Amend the post or I will make my thoughts on the matter public.

Cool Business Ideas clearly links back to PSFK, so once again I fail to see the problem.
Bottom line, your blog can be whatever you want it to be. While there are A-list bloggers, there is no central committee and no prescribed rules of engagement. If you want your site to be about what you’re reading (not writing), then so be it.
[UPDATE] Piers has taken down both his original “I’m going to call you out now” post, and the second one he made about how trivial it was of me to defend Cool Business. While his desire to be the bigger man is understandable, it doesn’t jive with his “join the conversation or bugger off” schtick.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. You really don’t get it do you, David?
    I want people to share the ideas we write about. They don’t even have to reference us – believe me, we’re not going to miss the traffic from CoolBusiness.
    If you cut and paste the WHOLE article written by one of our contribiutors, don’t add anything to it, then you’re simply trying to make you look good, get more traffic, sell more advertising space. That is NOT about spreading ideas. It’s about being cheap, lazy,
    Many of your posts on AdPulp heavily borrow from copy within post on other sites. Far more than I think is fair for the writer. On average I estimate that 75% of your content is a Cut & Paste of someone else. That’s lazy blogging.
    You sit in your ivory tower 10,000 miles away from the person who took the time to write that article and say theft is ok.
    You’re not adding to the conversation, David, you’re leveraging it to make money or traffic.
    I agree David, bloggers can have any blog they want it to be. But their blog has to be theirs – not someone else’s – they can’t just fill it up with other people’s content. They might as well not bother.

  2. Ariel Cassano says:

    Even when I think that Fawkes’s point of view is respectable, he goes against the social networking idea of blogs.
    It’s hard to think about an special licensing from Creative Commons to allow just to reproduce a portion from a content; it would sounds contradictory

  3. I’m glad you made it over here so quickly, Piers. You’re correct, I do not get it. I do not get why you or Steve Hall or B.L. Ochman think they can tell me, or anyone else, how to go about my business.
    By the way, my business here is taking notes on things that I may want to apply in my day job. It’s not about making money or garnering more traffic. And you calling me a thief is about as plausible as me calling you a liar.

  4. James Wohlers says:

    You are right that no one can tell you how to go about your business. Just know that Adpulp is the shitty cover band of blogs. Idiots may think you’re doing something cool, but anyone with half a brain or a little experience, can see you for the unoriginal hack that you are.

  5. Darren Stephens says:

    You CAN post the whole of someone else’s content, just as you CAN jump to the front of the line at the post office and you CAN visit a museum without making the suggested donation.
    But SHOULD you?
    And if you do, then respect the fact that others CAN tell the world they don’t think you’re playing fair.

  6. open your mind, and your ass will follow; not the other way around says:

    Piers and other whining crew,
    I understand your perspective. I really do. I just happen to think it is as archaic as the music industry’s reaction to file sharing. You, and they, do not get it. Allowing ones fan base to grow by promoting the spread of ones message via writing, music, film, etc, is a proven way to increase your bottom line, if that is what it is you are so keen on doing. Your fear based threats and immature reactions to anyone re-posting you or anyone else’s “original content” reinforce’s that you are the one not getting it.
    I believe that any writer should want their original content credited before they want someone to “re-word” it, which sounds much more like plagiarism to me than proper recognition to the original source, like Mr. Burn does here consistently. The definition of plagiarism also includes the “thieving” of ideas. I can point you to many blogs that merely “re-work” original content, but I am sure you know where to find them. Doing that, pretending the post one writes is original content and/or lamely reposting a press release, and then, acting as if one has provided original content is more offensive than properly crediting the source. Oh, and let us not forget other A-list Ad bloggers’ enlightening use of tits and ass. How original.
    If you still are confused, I encourage you to ask yourself how much the Grateful Dead made over their life span, while Jerry was still alive, along with all of the bands that follow in their footsteps. They understand the idea of shared art. And then, if you really still don’t get it, see Jeff Tweedy’s Wired interview,. He still makes millions, and gives away his music for free. Hmmmm. Maybe that’s a philosophy to ponder, huh.
    Not to mention the fact that AdPulp often includes original content, some of which is, admittedly, re-pakaged. This creates a lense, of sorts, in which to view content deemed interesting by the Editor; much like hip-hop sampling from other artists. But I bet you don’t get that either.
    Good luck.

  7. Heywood Jeblome says:

    From James Wohlers:
    You are right that no one can tell you how to go about your business. Just know that Adpulp is the shitty cover band of blogs. Idiots may think you’re doing something cool, but anyone with half a brain or a little experience, can see you for the unoriginal hack that you are.
    I’m sure David will lose tons of sleep and then come to his senses and shut this this crappy sight down.
    Wait a minute, did I just cut and paste something and then offer some commentary on it? I must be an unoriginal hack as well.

  8. People here seem to be arguing different points.
    If I copied music, then sold it in its entirety – is that ok because it helps the flow of creativity? Should I be able to pinch anything I want from a clothing store because it’s not locked down and it will bring fashion to my life and everyone who sees me? Should I be able to reblog anyone’s work in their entirity because it will help me with a future job promotion?
    There’s arguements for and against everything. I am for the spread of ideas, but against the exploitation of creative people.
    PSFK has 35 writers from many varied places who expect me to defend their work. Are some of you tellign me I shouldn;t care?
    The fact that CoolBizIdeas links back to PSFK is irrelevant, it’s the fact that it looks like CoolBusinessIdeas wrote the piece when they didn’t – is the issue.

  9. Heyward,
    Take a moment to read about what we’re talking about before making a comment. You miss the whole point completely.

  10. Dear James,
    I’m not looking to be original here.
    Dear Darren,
    I respect Piers’ right to say what he’s saying. I simply disagree with him.
    Dear Piers,
    Thank you once again for engaging. This is clearly an important topic and one we can all learn from.
    Let me ask you this, why is a link blog okay, but not a cut and paste blog? I’ll answer that. The objections have everything to do with lost revenue. The assumption is, if I make your content available here, then you may receive slightly less traffic to your site, and thus less revenue. As the P-Funk/Wilco/Dead fan above stated, that’s faulty thinking. I’m giving you free advertising, and you want to call it stealing. Who doesn’t get it? You don’t.

  11. Heywood Jeblome says:

    It’s Heywood. Heywood Jeblome.
    Take a moment to read what my name is before you respond to me. You missed my whole point completely.

  12. I’d say everyone here has a fair point. People will vote with their clicks, and Pier has every right to try and influence them (and you). Beyond that, I don’t think the word “should” is relevant.
    Although I might say that for those of us who don’t do this for a living, sometimes cut/paste is not so much lazyness as it is lack of time. Do it too much and people won’t read you. It’s not a question of ethics.

  13. As a self-confessed ‘Z blogger’ – who am I to join this clash of the titans? Answer: no one. But that’s the point.
    Piers has a valid point. It’s that simple. BUT, his justification is futile. There are no rules to the web and if there were they would destroy its very foundations. This is a ‘problem’ that is only going to escalate as the blogosphere multiplies so we might as well just learn to live with it (or revert back to the safe world of magazine publishing). To paraphrase many a postmodernist, for better or worse I’m afraid the ‘author’ is well and truly dead!

  14. So David, just curious — now that you’ve told Piers that he DOESN’T GET IT, are you going to continue to copy his words and post them up on your site?
    Sorry, I’ve had your back thru a lot of this, but I can’t support you reposting entire posts from somebody’s site verbatim–then being a dick to the guy who you’re lifting them from when he comes to talk about it.
    I’ve had enough discussions with you via email, and read enough of your original thoughts on this site to feel pretty confident that you could really contribute a lot more to the discussion (the bigger picture one you seem to copy/paste into AdPulp every day) than just being a verbatim echo chamber.
    From what I’ve read Piers, B.L., and Steve–they know this….they value your role in the conversation. That’s above all why they bother to email you — there are 100 sites/splogs posting their content verbatim right now. You think they bother to email all of them?
    You’re quick to get defensive, and believe me, I know how it is, especially being criticized on your own site. But as un-constructive as many of the criticisms may seem, just the fact that people are bothering to say ANYTHING is more than a lot of people have accomplished to date.
    The question is–with all these people, whose voices you obviously value, judging by your consistent Ctrl-C/Ving of them, urging you on–are you going to start adding more into your posts. Copying and excerpting and saying something about the posts….people are inviting you to join the conversation, You certainly don’t have to….but recognize what you’re doing for what it is — refusing to come talk with everyone else.

  15. Doth thou not comprehend, David, Son of Burn?
    Mine objective is to alloweth the masses to collectively worship the concepts we painstakingly pen. Mortals needn’t pay us homage — verily, there will be no tears shed over lost visitation deriving from the scoundrels at CoolBusiness.
    If thou doth slash and transport the ENTIRE missive spawned by our demigods, and refuse to add embellishment, then thou art a narcissistic fiend seeking false congregations and undeserved treasures. By Zeus, thou art not original — thou art a common thief.
    Thine creations at AdPulp mightily reflect the broodings of other digital deities. Vastly in excess that I doth deem appropriate for the originator. I doth perceive 75% of thine seed to spill from another’s loins. I say thee nay, Burn.
    Thou doth remain on thine throne eternities from the gods of original creation and proclaim thine base deeds to be hunky dory.
    Thou art not contributing to the pontifications, Son of Burn, thou art scheming for riches and armies.
    I confess, Son of Burn, digital deities may dictate their kingdoms. But thine kingdom must be thine own — not some imposter’s evil twin — brimming with another god’s works. Verily, thine efforts seem for naught.
    (Hmmm, I don’t know. Re-writing someone’s bullshit doesn’t make it any more original. Or any less bullshit. But I don’t get it. More importantly, I don’t care.)

  16. Kyle,
    Nice to have you come by and contribute. I appreciate that you’ve had my back before and while it would be nice to have your support now, it’s not needed. And no, I’m not being defensive. What I choose to do here isn’t laziness or a lack of time or any of that. I have a different model in play. That’s really all it is. If people do not see the value in a condensed version of the day’s ad news, then they can and will go elsewhere. I’m acutely aware of that fact, and I totally accept it.
    One of the great ironies of this debate is the fact that I actually am “a real writer”. That is, I get paid to write ads and all that. I also write essays, poems, stories, etc. for decidely less to no pay. My point is I don’t feel a driving need to have “my voice” heard in this venue. When it comes to original writing I have much bigger fish to fry. This is, after all, just advertising were talking about here.
    Oh, if you want to actually conduct a real conversation, I’ll email you my phone number.

  17. Cyberpolice says:

    Coolbusinessideas this is the cyberpolice. You have the right to stop blogging. Anything you cut and paste can and will be used against you in the court of Splogging. You have the right to speak with Google, and to have Google present during questioning. If you cannot afford it via Paypal, one will be provided for you using Adsense ..

  18. No, it’s quite alright. I hear ya loud and clear.
    Best of luck with everything.

  19. “If I copied music, then sold it in its entirety – is that ok because it helps the flow of creativity?”
    But what if you copied the music, and then gave it away to your friends?
    My view is, as long as there is a clear and easily seen link back to the original piece, what’s the big deal? Do I think such blogs very imaginative or innovative? Nope, but David does offer his opinions on pieces he links from time to time.
    And from the POV of Piers, I can’t see how David linking your articles here is a BAD thing. If I come here everyday and see David mentioning another PSFK article, eventually it’s going to get to the point where I think ‘Hell these guys at PSFK sound like smart cookies, think I’ll go over there and see what all the fuss is about!’.
    So thanks to David’s linking your posts here, I now stop coming to AdPulp to hear about PSFK, and start going straight to your blog.
    I can understand Piers getting ticked, but I don’t think he has reason to be, as I don’t think that David linking some of his posts is hurting PSFK in any shape, form, or fashion. In fact it’s likely sending visitors to PSFK for the first time. Visitors that might never have found the blog otherwise.
    And I can’t see that reposting PSFK’s posts here is causing any kind of huge financial windfall for David. And as I said, it likely IS sending new visitors to PSFK, so why don’t you guys call it even and continue to encourage a system which ultimately benefits both of you, as well as the readers?